In 2006, 65,983 foreign students attended courses in one of the 36 English-language specialised schools. This denotes an increase of 4,376 students or 7.1 per cent over the preceding year. Participation of both sexes increased in 2006 when compared to previous years, with a higher female proportion – 57.4 per cent of all the student population.
Students are classified in six age groups. Similar to previous years, the highest number of students was in the 16-17 age group, amounting to 25.6 per cent of the total student population. On the other hand, the lowest number was registered among the 26-30 age group, with 9.7 per cent of the total student population. Furthermore, the ’15 and under’ age bracket demonstrated an increase in students of 15.2 per cent over the previous year.
The highest number of students came from Germany, namely 24.4 per cent of all students. Italy was the second highest with 15.5 per cent, while France, Russia and Austria accounted for 13.2, 10.0 and 8.1 per cent respectively. Trends in incoming students from the mentioned countries have been stable, however, there were also increases from other countries. These included Switzerland, Spain and the Czech Republic.
European students summed up to 96.3 per cent of all foreign English-language students. Among these, 77.1 per cent came from EU Member States, thus implying an increase of 5.2 percentage points over the previous year. As illustrated in Table 3 students coming from countries in Asia, Africa and America accounted for 2.6, 0.4 and 0.4 per cent respectively.
Foreign students garnered 5.9 per cent of the total number of tourists visiting Malta in 2006, slight increase over 2005. The student-tourist ratio in respect of some countries was considerably high: of every 100 tourists coming from Ukraine, 42 were English-language students while this ratio in respect of Slovakia and the Czech Republic stood at 32 and 31 respectively. The majority of the foreign students studying the English language – 57.1 percent, visited the country in summer in contrast to 43.6 per cent of tourists who visited Malta in the shoulder months. An additional 33.5 per cent came to Malta during the shoulder months. Only 9.4 per cent of students attended English-language courses during the winter season.
Students aged between 21 and 25 years tended to stay longer in Malta with an average stay of 3.5 weeks. By contrast, the shortest stay was recorded among students aged 15 years and under, and also those aged 16-17 years, with an average duration of 2.1 weeks per student. Austrian students had the shortest stay with an average 1.4 weeks per student. Although the figures bear out summer as the most popular season among foreign students, the longest stays tended to be in winter.
In 2006, teaching staff numbered 1,279 persons, an increase of 76 persons or 6.3 per cent over the previous year. The majority of these teachers were working on a part-time basis, 92.2 per cent. Full-time teaching personnel amounted to 7.8 per cent indicating an increase of 18 persons over 2005. At nearly 76 per cent, female teachers comprised the absolute majority of the teaching staff working in these schools